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Russia plane crash kills 29; 23 survive
Updated: 2005-03-16 22:52

A plane crash in far northern Russia Wednesday killed 29 people, while 23 people survived, Russia's Emergencies Ministry said.

The Transport Ministry earlier said the crash had killed 49 people, but local news agencies quoted an Emergencies Ministry spokesman as saying a ministry rescue team had found 23 survivors.

The plane caught fire after its wing clipped the ground during an emergency landing near the town of Barandei in the Nenets autonomous region, the Emergencies Ministry said.

The An-24 two-engine aircraft was carrying 45 passengers and four crew members when it crashed near Varandei in the Nenets autonomous region along Russia's Arctic coast, said Russia Transport Ministry spokesman Timur Khikmatov. The plane departed from the city of Ufa in southern Siberia and made several stopovers on its way to Varandei, about 1,110 miles northeast of Moscow.

The aircraft banked and crashed while making a final approach to landing, said Nail Gabdulin, spokesman for the local branch of Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry.

The An-24 is a Soviet-designed turboprop airliner built in the 1960s for short and medium-length trips. Hundreds are still in service with airlines in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

Russia's Lukoil oil company is currently upgrading the Varandei port on the Arctic Pechora Sea. Lukoil and U.S. oil company ConocoPhillips have established a joint venture, Rusco, to develop the oil-rich fields in the Timan-Pechora region with the intention of ultimately shipping crude to the United States from Varandei.

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